A Debate in Translation: Are Tomatoes a Vegetable or a Fruit?

Picking indigo at Spanish in the Garden 7/19


We don’t always know the things that we think we know. Sometimes, the simplest questions require translation and clarification.

Today, during Week 2 of Spanish in the Garden, we realized a very real gap in our collective knowledge: What is the difference between fruits and vegetables? While the “Are tomatoes a fruit or a vegetable?” debate is fairly common around lunch tables and classrooms nationwide, rarely does this conversation expand its scope.

St. Wayne taught us the distinction between them while weaving Spanish into our discussion. Frutas, or fruits, contain the seeds of the plant, while verduras, or vegetables, are a separate part of the plant, such as the root or the stalk.

Infused in the resolving of this Spanish-English debate was identifying the names and colors of plants in the Collard City Growers garden in Spanish. Our conversations led to some frustration as we struggled to collectively remember the names of vegetables and their colors in Spanish. In doing so, we discussed how hard it can be, sometimes, to translate the things we learn in school to the world we inhabit and to relearn colors and vegetable names.


Whether we are translating Spanish into English or classroom knowledge into learned experience, Spanish in the Garden Tuesdays at Collard City Growers is the place where it all comes together.


This blog post was written by Sanctuary intern Jenna Kersten.